Motoring lawyer Nick Freeman, who has famously cleared celebrities for a range of road traffic offences believes he holds the key to improving safety on Britain`s roads
Known as ‘Mr Loophole’ for his ability to secure acquittals on legal technicalities for high-profile clients charged with motoring offences– Nick has devised a ten-point road safety charter which he believes the Government must undertake in order to cut road traffic accidents.
- making it mandatory for newly qualified drivers to wear special plates,
- for motorists over 70 to take a compulsory vision and reaction test every two years
- learning how to overtake cyclists to become part of the driving test.
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“I’ve long believed that the Government has been mistaken in the areas on which it chooses to focus its road traffic legislation,” says the Manchester-based year lawyer, whose famous clients include David Beckham and Paddy McGuiness. “For example, why don’t they reduce the drink driving limit from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 50 milligrams– which would be in line with most of Europe? It wouldn`t be a costly move yet it could save so many lives”
Freeman’s charter comes at a time when driving in the UK is an increasingly dangerous business with the number of people killed on Britain’s roads currently at a five-year high.
It was also revealed this week that the number of vehicles on our roads has leapt by two and a half million in the last five years.
Another inexpensive move, says Freeman, would be banning the use of hands-free mobile phones (handheld use is already illegal)
“Everyone thinks that if you’re using a phone and you`re hands-free then you are safe but it is a major cause of distraction. Research shows it falls to the same level at which you’re permitted to drink and drive which means the chances of having an accident using hands-free increases fourfold. That’s why any form of use of a phone when driving, except for an emergency, should be banned. The stakes are just too high.”
Freeman’s charter follows recent attempts by the police to improve road safety. Only this week it was revealed that Durham Police will offer drink-driving offenders new devices which will breathalyse them before their car starts..
Nick Freeman admits some of his own suggestions are counter-intuitive. Ironically for a man accused of putting speeding motorists back on the road, he would actually like to see the limit raised on motorways from 70mph to 80mph.
“It isn’t speed which kills, it`s bad driving – something which is largely ignored because of robotical policing. The 70mph was established in the 1960s based on the maximum speed of a Ford Anglia. Now many have cars have inbuilt safety features and can comfortably go faster. Rush hour travellers will not really be affected by any increase in speed limit, because bad congestion typically means an inability to get anywhere close to the existing 70mph limits anyway.”
He also advocates reducing the constant fluctuation of speed between gantries on so-called Smart motorways
“Smart motorways are a dangerous distraction with constant sign changes, a paucity of accurate information, inexplicable speed restrictions on empty stretches of road, and the use of the hard shoulder as a running lane at times of congestion – a ridiculously dangerous idea, which increases the vulnerability of drivers who break down before they can reach a refuge area.”
Freeman`s road safety charter is likely to be unpopular with certain categories of road users. For instance, he believes lorry drivers on three-lane motorways should be confined to the nearside lane.
And that cyclists should have to take proficiency tests, put their bikes through mandatory MOT tests and be prosecuted in the same way as motorists if they jump red lights. They should also be identified with some kind of licence plate
Undoubtedly there will also be those who think the charter is a bit rich coming from a lawyer who is accused of being a menace to road safety since he has made his name securing acquittals for his clients.
However, Freeman says that until the law is changed it is the duty of criminal defence lawyers to defend their clients to the best of their ability. `
“I work within the parameters of current legislation. But how much better if we could introduce the changes of my proposed charter. It would slash the number of accidents and make all forms of road transport much safer.”
MR LOOPHOLE`S TEN POINT ROAD SAFETY CHARTER
- Ban all use of use of hands-free mobile phones.
- Reduce drink-drive limit from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 50 milligrams.
- Cameras should automatically flash middle lane hoggers so they are fined and receive penalty points.
- Lorry drivers on three-lane motorways should be confined to the near sideline. This would rise to the two inner lanes on four-lane motorways.
- A compulsory vision and medical check every two years for motorists over 70.
- Newly qualified drivers should have to wear `NQ` plates for two years after passing their test. If they don`t there should be an instant disqualification and a compulsory extended re-test.
- Cyclists need to be identified with number plates, take a proficiency test, their bikes should have a yearly MOT and the wearing of helmets and tabards should also be compulsory.
- Learning how to overtake cyclists should be part of the driving test.
- Reducing the use of fluctuating speed on smart motorways. Gantries also need to provide detailed, accurate information such as exactly where a vehicle has broken down in terms of distance and location so the motorist can take pre-emptive measures. Smart motorways should act proportionately.
- Speed limit should be raised from 70mph to 80mph on motorways.
About Freeman & Co.
Freeman & Co. are a specialist firm of road traffic and criminal defence solicitors based in Manchester but with nationwide coverage.
Freeman & Co. specialise in a wide variety of road traffic cases, ranging from drink driving, speeding and mobile phone offences, to name but a few.
The firm was created by Nick Freeman, who has been dubbed “Mr Loophole” by the press for his technical legal ability and robustly challenging the prosecution.
Nick is well regarded as an expert road traffic lawyer and has successfully represented many high profile clients for a variety of motoring offences as well as criminal offences.
The firm of Freeman & Co. embodies the way Nick works, with minute attention to detail and challenging the prosecution at every turn.
If you are facing a road traffic matter or criminal offence and need the services of Freeman & Co. please call on 0161 236 7007.
Freeman & Co. are available for Police Station attendances and an experienced criminal lawyer is on hand to take your call.
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Freeman & Co Solicitors
8 Oxford Court
Tel. 0161 236 7007